Intersex inclusion in the 2014 Sydney Mardi Gras Parade

Team intersex - 2014 Mardi Gras, photo by Robert Knapman
Photo: Thanks to Robert Knapman, used with permission.

Statement by presidents of both Australian intersex-led organisations: Ms Bonnie Hart, president of the Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome Support Group Australia (AISSGA) and Mr Morgan Carpenter, president of Organisation Intersex International Australia (OII Australia) at the Mardi Gras Parade press briefing on 28 February.

Morgan: “I’m Morgan Carpenter, I’m kind of a guy, and I’m kind of queer.”

Bonnie: “I’m Bonnie Hart, I’m a woman, and I’m kind of straight-ish.

“Being intersex has nothing to do with gender identities or presentations, or sexual orientation. Intersex people identify as female, male, both, and all sorts of identities between the binary. It’s a lived experience”

Morgan: “Intersex is not about transition, it’s an experience of the body and, in our cases, of being made to physically fit sex and gender norms, to be what society demands of a “real man” and “real woman”. We both need Hormone Replacement Therapy due to medical intervention. We have both suffered “normalising” interventions over which we didn’t have full consent.”

Bonnie: “It is important to note that not all intersex people identify with the LGBTI, but I think we can all acknowledge the tremendous amount of work the rainbow family has done with protecting human rights, reducing stigma and shame through diversifying social views around sex, sexuality and gender and creating safe spaces to celebrate difference and common ground. We all seek acceptance of who we are, how we are.”

Morgan: “Intersex individuals, and organisational representatives, have marched publicly in the parade before, but always by themselves: we acknowledge and thank Tony Briffa, past president of the AISSGA, and Gina Wilson, past president of OII Australia. This 2014 entry is the largest ever contingent of intersex people, the first ever intersex group entry in the parade.”

Bonnie: “We will never know how many intersex people have actually marched, as intersex has been historically erased from social view.”

Morgan: “We would like to thank Paul Savage and Siri Kommedahl of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras for their efforts on inclusion in this year’s Mardi Gras parade, and the other allies and friends who made this possible. AISSGA and OII Australia marched together, for the first time, to show that we can grow up to live happy and fulfilling lives.”

Joint intersex float 2014 Mardi Gras
Photo: Thanks to Matt Akersten,, used with permission.


Star Observer, 25 February 2014, What Mardi Gras means to us